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Updated: Mar 7, 2019

Brain Storm

"Structure" is a rather general topic because it seems like covering everything in our daily life.

In the beginning, I did a brain storm to roughly review what does the structure means to me most. As for me, it could be the design and architecture that we may use everyday. It also could be the blood relationship, social stratums and man-made ecological structure. In the art respect, it reminded me the abstract art, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Constructivism and Suprematism. There was Taoist terminology always repeating in my mind while I thinking the meaning of structure. In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Zi described that the greatest form is formless, which really inspired me and let me think of a work that I did nearly three years ago. Its name was Form and Formless. Despite the "structure" gave me a concrete, even in the art aspect, I believe as Lao ZI said, the structure that I want to pursue should be existing in the abstraction. Through these years, I was still thinking about it because I felt that it was not finished yet, somehow it was lacking of something. Therefore, I planned to eventually express what I wanted to say based on the study of this project.

Form and Formlessness, 2017


As what I use to do in the beginning of a topic, I researched the literal meaning of "structure" on Wikipedia.

General Definition

"Structure is an arrangement and organisation of interrelated elements in a material object or system, or the object or system so organised. Material structures include man-made objects such as buildings and machines and natural objects such as biological organisms, minerals and chemicals. Abstract structures include data structures in computer science and musical form. Types of structure include a hierarchy (a cascade of one-to-many relationships), a network featuring many-to-many links, or a lattice featuring connections between components that are neighbours in space."

Trip of Winchester

Thus, structure has diverse meanings that apply in different subjects. In December 18th, I went to Winchester, it was my first time to carefully look at the Western architecture. I found that the structure in the buildings were complex and delicate, which included physics, mechanics, aesthetics and geometrics.

The geometric symmetry was really attracting me. Meanwhile, based on this trip, I realised that both Eastern and Western architectures were merging the physical symbolism and spiritual ideal together. The structure of the cathedral was serving for the religious doctrine, the magnificent building constructed a solemn atmosphere for the holiness. Same as the art, the physical appearance usually bridged audience and the conceptual core.

The Exhibitions

Saatchi Galley/ Wellcome Collection/ Science Museum/ Hayward Gallery

In December 22nd, I went to several exhibitions, which respectively were "Living With Buildings - Health & Architecture" (Wellcome Collection), "The Sun - Living With Our Star" (Science Museum), "Black Mirror: Art as Social Satire" (Saatchi Gallery) and "Space Shifters" (Hayward Gallery), trying to find the connection with structure.

Interestingly, from the architecture to fine art, from fine art to the photos that I took were all following the guide of "structure". Lines and shapes constructed the feature. In another word, we are sensitive to the "structure" because the order of the shapes is covering nearly everything in our life. From this point to think, perhaps what the greatest form that Lao Zi said would be the detachment of the shape.

Whitechapel Gallery

In January 4th, I went to the Whitechapel Gallery because the some of the exhibitions in it were quite attracting me. At that time, there were six exhibitions in total were showing, which were "Elmgreen & Dragset: This Is How We Bite Our Tongue", "Ulla von Brandenburg: Sweet Feast, In partnership with Le Prix Marcel Duchamp", "Surreal Science: Loudon Collection with Salvatore Arancio", "Staging Jackson Pollock", "Mikhail Karikis: No Ordinary Protest", and the first one interested me most.

On account of the exhibition was about only two artists who worked together, I could clearly feel the "structure" of their ideas which embodying in the works that had explicit topics, about politics, homosexuality, social issues. Meanwhile, these works somewhat revealed out a part of the structure of this society, such as the most noticeable The Whitechapel Pool, which was talking about the gentrification and civic space.

Art: 21 "Structures"

This was the documentary that recommended by tutors, which interviewed several famous artists to share their understanding of "structure" based on talking about their works.

It was really interesting and the most appealing point was that I can see how these artists progressed their thought and realised the idea to a physical artwork. I noted down some quotes that really intriguing to me.

Mathew Ritchie

  1. We're all trying to advance; at least to question what's going on.

  2. Drawing, infinite machine, keep pushing, "transcribing"

  3. Part of the work is letting people in.

  4. (Mathew's son) All he's getting is this just insane, confusing information, and that process keeps continuing all our lives. So we filter out, you know, the knowledge that everything in this space has a meaning and a history and a story.

  5. Lines, drawing, world, universe, prison

  6. So, in a way, each of us is in kind of our own prison, like it bring with you. It's a prison of your biology of your social structure, of your life, and how that is both a sort of challenge and an opportunity.

  7. Everything in the material world around us has a narrative. So, to sort of classify visual art alone, as the one medium that shouldn't require any effort on behalf of anybody to ever understand it -- you should just be able to look at it and walk away as a pure sensation -- that relegates it to the level like a roller coaster ride. Like "Just shut your eyes and enjoy the ride." (for art, open your eyes)

Fred Wilson

  1. As I get older, I realised that your identity is really tied largely to your experiences and the time period that you grew up.

  2. All these representations that I grew up with are telling me who I am whether I realise it or not.

Richard Tuttle

  1. In any art form, these has to be an accounting of its opposite condition. You're going to be a visual artist, then there has to be something in it that accounts for the possibility of the invisible, the opposite of the visual experience.

  2. A painting or a sculpture really exists somewhere between what it is and what it is not.

  3. Everything in life is drawing, if you want, and drawing is absolutely quintessential to knowing the self, you know, and I would even say that the art that survive, you know, from one generation to the next, is the art that actually carries something that tells us, tells society what about self.

  4. Well, what about making drawings about an area where you can't see?

  5. Sometimes the art is actually in the tenth one, you know the final one, and other times, it's in the whole ten.

Roni Horn

  1. Unknown is where I want to be, I don't want distinguished.


I was really happy to find out that some of my ideas were quite similar as these artists. Mathew Ritchie mentioned about the interaction between the work and the viewer and the idea of we were prisoned in this structured world, which was resembling the Buddhist philosophy. For Fred Wilson, I agreed with the influence of the milieu where you grew up, because I also could feel an ambiguous impression of the childhood, which would constantly appear in my mind. In the whole documentary, Richard Tuttle and Roni Horn were the two artists who inspired my most, and Horn's enlightenment had already been put in the Illusiveness. To talk about Tuttle's ideas, I also could perceive the similarity between them and Taoist philosophy, which mentioned everything was relatively existing; therefore, same as the visual art, the existence of it also relying on the invisible thing. Coincidently, I found that his question, "Well, what about making drawings about an area where you can't see?", was just corresponding to this project. I was also thinking about a way to present the invisible "emptiness". Thus, his words were really moving.

Plan of The Research

On account of I had finished the study of the previous work, I would be more clear on the conceptual point that I attempted to attain. Thus, in the secondary research, I will follow the idea that I mentioned above, to concentrate on the research of how the bygone art movements dealt with the structure and why did they do this way, and also the further study of Taoism and Buddhism to support the conceptual part as well as the Chinese artists who did the relating artworks.

The art movements in the list are what I had mentioned above, including abstract art, Bauhaus, De Stijl, Constructivism and Suprematism. I will generally look the development and the main principle of each, and select some artists to specifically study.


Abstract Art: Explanation of Tate

"Abstract art is art that does not attempt to represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but instead use shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect.

Strictly speaking, the word abstract means to separate or withdraw something from something else.

The term can be applied to art that is based an object, figure or landscape, where forms have been simplified or schematised.

It is also applied to art that uses forms, such as geometric shapes or gestural marks, which have no source at all in an external visual reality. Some artists of this ‘pure’ abstraction have preferred terms such as concrete art or non-objective art, but in practice the word abstract is used across the board and the distinction between the two is not always obvious.

Abstract art is often seen as carrying a moral dimension, in that it can be seen to stand for virtues such as order, purity, simplicity and spirituality.

Since the early 1900s, abstract art has formed a central stream of modern art."

In Tate's explanation of abstract art, "concrete art" and "non-objective art" are relating terms that I noticed. I would continue to look up this two terms later.

Tao-Tie pattern on Chinese Bronze Tripod

I also got some informations from the description of Wikipedia. For the history part, I realised that the abstract art actually has been existing for a long time that can be traced back to primitive times that people used lines and shapes to symbolising a pattern, even the totem of a tribe. However, after the Western art experienced the Renaissance, people used more logical view to regard the art and advocated to achieve the effect of verisimilitude.

The Calling of Saint Matthew (1599–1600), Caravaggio

Until the end of the 19th century, while the industry and social system were happening the earthshaking changes, people started to think of getting the rid of the traditional painting. The new milieu changed people's idea of art again, and gradually turning back to the abstract.

For the explanation part, I realised that the so-called realistic art is still containing the abstract part. Therefore, in the text it also explained that, "total abstraction bears no trace of any reference to anything recognisable", the abstract art is often personal and elusive.

Meanwhile, it was really helpful that the text also provided an development route of the abstract art as well as the relating artists.

Post Impressionism:

Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne had an enormous impact on 20th-century art and led to the advent of 20th-century abstraction.


At the beginning of the 20th century Henri Matisse and several other young artists including the pre-cubist Georges Braque, André Derain, Raoul Dufy and Maurice de Vlaminck.

The raw language of color as developed by the Fauves directly influenced another pioneer of abstraction, Wassily Kandinsky.


Pablo Picasso made his first cubist paintings based on Cézanne's idea that all depiction of nature can be reduced to three solids: cube, sphere and cone.

Analytic cubism: 

Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, from about 1908 through 1912.

Synthetic cubism:

Braque, Picasso, Fernand Léger, Juan Gris, Albert Gleizes, Marcel Duchamp and others into the 1920s. 


The collage artists like Kurt Schwitters and Man Ray and others taking the clue from Cubism were instrumental to the development of the movement called Dada.

The Rayist (Luchizm):

Natalia Goncharova and Mikhail Lariono


Kasimir Malevich, Black Square, in 1915.

Architectonic Constructions and Spatial Force Constructions

Liubov Popova, created between 1916 and 1921. 


Piet Mondrian, between 1915 and 1919


This overview is beneficial for me to further understand the styles of each art movement and the representing artists. Based on this small research, I find that the Neo-Plasticism, Concrete art, Non-objective art are also intriguing for me. So in the following research, I will specifically look at Bauhaus (1919), De Stijl (1917), Constructivism (1915), Suprematism (1913), Neo-Plasticism (1917), Concrete art (1930), Constructionism (1950) and Non-objective art, then set the artist list to study.

Non-objective Art: Detach from the reality

It is a quite general term and the idea of it was firstly used by the Russian Constructivist Alexander Rodchenko, who titled some of his works with "Non-Objective Painting". At the same time, the artists like Wassily Kandinsky and Kasimir Malevich were also exploring the way of getting rid of the figurative references on the picture.

In the description of Tate, "it and was inspired by the Greek philosopher Plato who believed that geometry was the highest form of beauty"; therefore, the artists such as Kandinsky was trying to express the non-material things like music in his work. In the article The Birth of Non-Objective Painting by, it mainly introduced the influence of Kandinsky and there is a sentence described his change of style after knowing the disintegration of the atom, it says, "for him it also suggested art should be concerned with the mystical, the metaphysical and the spiritual." While people were understanding more about this world, the uncertainty was also generating simultaneously. The rise of either abstract art or non-objective art was reflecting the impact of the tremendous change of technology, people felt that the world was still far different than what they used to think was. At that moment, the metaphysical or spiritual things were the most "steady" harbour for people to view back to the internal world, did not reck any external materials.

Through the study of it, I realised that the non-objective art was a quite general term which described the artworks that attempting to detach from the references of reality.

Suprematism: Rectangles, Squares and Circles (1913-late 1920s)

The first actual Suprematism exhibition: O.10., December 1915, St Petersburg

The Suprematism would be one of the most representative non-figurative art form which was led by the Russian artist Kasimir Malevich.

Kasimir Malevich (1879-1935)

In 1927, he published a book called The Non-Objective World which stated the Suprematism was trying to "free art from the dead weight of the real world" and mainly using the basic geometric forms, such as rectangles, circles and squares with beautiful colours. In addition, Malevich described three levels of the Suprematism, which were black, coloured and white. Meanwhile, the white colour usually was the background of the picture which creates the feeling of colour in space. Malevich believed that the Suprematist art would be ever superior than the previous arts and he was pursuing the "supremacy of pure feeling or perception in the pictorial arts", which led it more like the metaphysical or mystical study at that time.

"Just as Futurism aimed at a total renewal of Russian culture, so Suprematism claimed to supersede all art movements that had gone before it."

"Suprematist abstract painting was aimed at doing much the same, by removing the real world entirely and leaving the viewer to contemplate what kind of picture of the world is offered by, for instance, a Black Square (c. 1915)."

"We see that Suprematism has swept away from the plane the illusions of two-dimensional planimetric space, the illusions of three-dimensional perspective space, and has created the ultimate illusion of irrational space, with its infinite extensibility into the background and foreground."

El Lissitzky

Constructivism: "Practicality married beauty" (1915-late 1930s)

Corner Counter-Relief, Vladimir Tatlin (1914)

Constructivism was the last influential modern art movement in the 20th century's Russia, which was founded by Vladimir Tatlin and Alexander Rodchenko around 1915. Inspired by Picasso's cubist constructions, Tatlin decided to use the industrial materials to create the complete abstract art. The name of Constructivism was created in 1921 and in 1923, the manifesto of it defined as, "Constructivism is a purely technical mastery and organisation of materials". The Constructivism also absorbed from Suprematism and Futurism, but claimed to serve for the social purpose and accentuated the connection between "practicality" and "beauty". It was the spontaneous evolution of the definition of art while the change of society happening, which echoing the establishment of "modern". As the article in described, "Tatlin suggests that modernity and experiment should be Russia's new gods", the revolution happened in Russia was profoundly influenced the Constructivism.

This video helped me to further understand the reason why did Constructivism generated based on that social circumstance in both international and domestic ranges


Proun Room, El Lissitzky (1923)

"For many Constructivists, this entailed an ethic of 'truth to materials,' the belief that materials should be employed only in accordance with their capacities, and in such a way that demonstrated the uses to which they could be put."

I am attracted by the abstract effects that created by the materials, the structures of them are visually amusing. Especially Naum Gabo's sculptures are somewhat fitting with my expecting effect of the three-dimensional version of my work. Therefore, later I would continue to research more about his ideas and artworks.

De Stijl: The basic basis of art (1917-1931)

Composition B (No.II) with Red, Piet Mondrian (1935)

De Stijl was an art group that founded by Piet Mondrian (1872–1944) and Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931) in 1917 and promoted using geometric forms and primary colours. "De Stijl" was named by Mondrian, which in Dutch means "style", as for him, "he defined his aims and used, perhaps for the first time, the term neo-plasticism." ( This movement not only influenced the fine art, but also applied their motif in product design and architecture. The De Stijl artists expected to create "a universal visual language appropriate to the modern era, a time of a new, spiritualized world order" (ibid.), which was largely influenced by the World War I to create a utopian art form. Therefore, the primary colours, black, grey and white as well as the horizontal, vertial and diagonal lines were playing the main role in this movement. For the architecture part, it inspired the Bauhaus-inspired International Style. For the fine art part, with following many abstract art movements, it continued on exploring the way of prohibiting the connection with any objective representation.

About the end of Theo van Doesburg's life, he reduced the colours from the canvas and barely left black, white and a bit of grey on it (Left side, Arithmetic Composition, 1929-30).

"We speak of concrete and not abstract painting because nothing is more concrete, more real than a line, a color, a surface."

Theo van Doesburg

Red and Blue Chair, Gerrit Rietveld (1923)

From Doesburg's words, I guess that the concrete art may be an art term as well. The concrete art probably is defined by its use of simply geometric structures. With the same idea, I realised that the "neo-plasticism" was an idea or a term that may also relating to the geometric structure and restrictive use of colours.

Rietveld Schröder House, Gerrit Rietveld (1924)

The Rietveld Schröder House is the only building that built according to the principle of De Stijl. The described that "Rietveld's design makes no attempt to interact with any of the surrounding buildings or roadways, suggesting its presence as an isolated structure focusing inward instead of outward." Based on the description, I am inspired that as the art movements that researched above, all these which were generated around the period of WWI turned their attentions from the external world to the inside. They all attempted to cancel the link with the outside world in the artworks and pursuing the ultimate "language" of art.

Neo-Plasticism: Established on the absolute orders (1917-1944)

Composition with Color Planes 5, Piet Mondrian (1917)  

Neo-plasticism is a term used by De Stijl, especially, Piet Mondrian, for his own type of abstract painting that using horizontal and vertical lines and primary colours to express the universal truth in the balanced compositions.

Composition With Grid VI, Piet Mondrian (1919)

From 1909-1910 Mondrian studied Georges Seurat's colour theory that focused on the use of contrasting primary colours and also joined the Dutch Theosophical Society which profoundly inspired him on the establishment of Neo-Plasticism principle. M. H. J. Schoenmaekers's Beginselen der Beeldende Wiskunde (The Principles of Plastic Mathematics) influenced him most and we can see the prototypical reference from Schoenmaekers's words, that already mentioned the lines and primary colours:

"The two fundamental and absolute extremes that shape our planet are: on the one hand the line of the horizontal force, namely the trajectory of the Earth around the Sun, and on the other vertical and essentially spatial movement of the rays that issue from the center of the Sun...the three essential colors are yellow, blue, and red."

Meanwhile, Schoenmaeker's another phrases, "de nieuwe beelding," which spontaneously became as the name of this art type, which means "new image creation" or "new art."

Composition with Red Blue and Yellow, Piet Mondrian (1930)

As for Mondrian, he applied this idea into value of life and believing that these fundamental elements were the truths that he wanted to pursue, "Vertical and horizontal lines are the expression of two opposing forces; they exist everywhere and dominate everything; their reciprocal action constitutes 'life'."

Composition, Bart Van der Leck (1918)

Therefore, not only Mondrian but also the artists in the De Stijl circle before 1923 when he left the circle were following this doctrine, using the primary colours of red, yellow, and blue against the non-colours of black, white, and grey to produce equilibrium.

"Neo-plasticism was in fact an ideal art in which the basic elements of painting – colour, line form – were used only in their purest, most fundamental state: only primary colours and non-colours, only squares and rectangles, only straight and horizontal or vertical lines."


"Neo-Plasticism creates harmony through two extremes: the universal and the individual. The former by revelation, the latter by deduction."

Piet Mondrian

Contra-Compositie XIII, Theo van Doesburg (1925-1926)

In 1923, Mondrian seceded from the De Stijl group because of the contradiction between him and van Doesburg. Through van Duesburg's paintings we can see that he usually presented a bolshy attitude to the Neo-Plasticism. He did not always apply the vertical and horizontal lines, and the balanced composition on the canvas. As for me, Mondrian gave me a kind of devout sense that he firmly believed in his philosophy, and practising it unswervingly; whereas van Doesburg was more bold to add new ideas in the painting. Comparing to Doesburg, Mondrian was more like a believer. However, in the Victory Boogie Woogie (1942-1944), Mondrian's unfinished work before him dead, I can see the more sophisticate and agile emotion.

Victory Boogie Woogie, Piet Mondrian (1942-1944)

Bauhaus: Re-make the art education (1919-1933)

The Bauhaus was one of the most influential modernist art school as well as a zeitgeist that profoundly inspired numerous artists. The name of it was actually the inversion of a German word, "Hausbau", which means "house of building", to demonstrate the difference between the traditional art school. It was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany by the architect Walter Gropius.

"The origins of the Bauhaus lie in the late 19th century, in anxieties about the soullessness of modern manufacturing, and fears about art's loss of social relevance. The Bauhaus aimed reunite fine art and functional design, creating practical objects with the soul of artworks."

"Although the Bauhaus abandoned many aspects of traditional fine-arts education, it was deeply concerned with intellectual and theoretical approaches to its subject. Various aspects of artistic and design pedagogy were fused, and the hierarchy of the arts which had stood in place during the Renaissance was levelled out: the practical crafts - architecture and interior design, textiles and woodwork - were placed on a par with fine arts such as sculpture and painting."

Meanwhile, the development of Russian Constructivism in the 1910s was also indispensably influenced the emerge of Bauhaus because it provided an actual example of combining the practicality with the art. Therefore, the study of art in Bauhaus was more leaning to the science instead of the humanities. It also reminded me the works of Duchamp, which also concerning more about the industrial materials and scientific study.

Through the research, I found many appealing ideas behind the artist's works.

Yellow-Red-Blue, Wassily Kandinsky (1925)

After Kandinsky returned to Germany in 1922, he began to teach in the Bauhaus. In 1923, he wanted to further discover the relationship between the particular shapes and colours, thereby he made a questionnaire to let the people coloured the apposite colour they believed for a triangle, square and circle. Eventually, the yellow triangle, red square and blue circle were the most common answers, which became as one of the motif of Bauhaus as well as embodied in this work. I am wondering why did people commonly selected the primary colours as the answer or were they the only three selections.

Walter Gropius (1883-1969)

In the analysis of the Bauhaus building in

Dessau, which designed by the first Bauhaus' principle, Walter Gropius, I somewhat understood the education idea of him.

"The succession of changing perspectives which the building affords reflected Gropius's vision for social evolution: for the emergence of a more egalitarian, rational, orderly culture. "

Light Prop for an Electric Stage (Light Space Modulator), László Moholy-Nagy (1930)

In the research of Bauhaus, I surprisingly found the artworks of Moholy-Nagy were really inspring. They gathered the memory of Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Ai Weiwei together, which I believe he works are avant-garde and intriguing.

"The innovative use of modern materials to create the work, which was initially intended for commercial use in theatres, epitomises the Bauhaus emphasis on mass production, the machine aesthetic, and the use of modern technology to make works of functional art."


For this work, on the material way it made me think of Duchamp's mechanic-structure artworks, such as his Rotary Demisphere (1925). Both of them were using the machines to create something visually attractive. On the idea part, the word "mass production" really attracts me because it reminds me Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds (2010), which also talked about this issue. However, crossing nearly a century, this topic is still argued amongst people, which could prove that the Bauhaus' idea was edge-cutting.

"Light Prop for an Electric Stage exemplifies this philosophy: Moholy-Nagy felt that its use of motion and time-bound light-patterns - dependent upon the viewer to create their own unique, narrative experience of the work - would transform his audience from passive recipients into active participants within an immersive creative environment. "

After researching, I realised that Moholy-Nagy used to make a film about this work, called A Lightplay : Black White Grey, which recorded the movement of this machine under the pure black-and-white situation. Comparing to the videos that recorded in the normal environment and light, I found the difference of this video and the meaning of the "immersive creative environment". In this video, the movements were not simply mechanical, the contrast of light and shadow as well as the dreamy feeling literally constructed an immersive environment. Therefore, I admired his creativeness on both the idea and technique ways.

Moholy-Nagy's photography works were also fascinating. Their compositions and layers made me feel curious about how he created these pictures; thus, I decided to further research him later.

The ethos of Bauhaus influenced many industries like typeface design, product design, and textile design, etc. On account of the Bauhaus was regarding these relating industries as important as fine art, this principle underpinned the international impact of it. Since the period of Bauhaus, the art seemed no longer higher than life; instead, the other subjects have been as equivalent as art. Somehow, a bit like Constructivism, the art started to serve for life or the social requirements.

Concrete art: Purer geometric form

Counter-Composition VI, Theo van Doesburg (1925)

After researching the art movements as well as the terms above, I finally understand a little bit about the difference and similarity of abstract art, concrete art and non-objective art. In general, they are meaning the similar idea and happened in a same time line. The "non-objective art" was firstly used by Constructivist in Russia, when the the leader of De Stijl, Theo van Doesburg introduced "concrete art" in 1930. Resembling as the motif of non-objective art, Doesburg stated that "there was nothing more concrete or more real than a line, a colour, or a plane (a flat area of colour)." (Tate)

Theo van Doesburg, Composition VIII (The Cow) (c. 1918)

In 1930, one year before Doesburg dead, he published the manifesto in their own French-language magazine, Revue Art Concret:


  1. Art is universal.

  2. The work of art must be entirely conceived and shaped by the mind before its execution. It shall not receive anything of nature’s or sensuality’s or sentimentality’s formal data. We want to exclude lyricism, drama, symbolism, and so on.

  3. The painting must be entirely built up with purely plastic elements, namely surfaces and colors. A pictorial element does not have any meaning beyond “itself”; as a consequence, a painting does not have any meaning other than “itself”.

  4. The construction of a painting, as well as that of its elements, must be simple and visually controllable.

  5. The painting technique must be mechanic, i.e., exact, anti-impressionistic.

  6. An effort toward absolute clarity is mandatory.

Max Bill, Endless Ribbon from a Ring I (1947-1949)

Artists who were not in Europe but also Russia had already begun to turn their eyesights from the outside world and part of traditional aesthetic value to the internal world in the roaring twenties, when most of the human society had been extensively influenced by the World War I. The idea or the mind were playing a more decisive role than the physical scenes, and that promoted the rise of abstract art (or concrete art, non-objective art).

"It was already in the 1910’s that some progressive creatives completely broke off with any sort of representation which was quite an abrupt change even to late cubism and fauvism. The Russian Wassily Kandinsky was possibly the first to paint purely abstract pieces, soon followed by Piet Mondrian numbered tableaus and compositions, and Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square."

A Brief History of Concrete Art, Frederic Godward

Composition, Vilmos Huszár (c. 1955 - 1960)

Cold Abstraction

"What set concrete art apart from previous styles was its even stronger tendency to rely on pure geometric forms, its cerebral, formal qualities, its complete negation of lyricism, dramaticism, symbolism – making it seem more mechanical, more machine-made (especially in sculpting), rather than created by human touch."


Max Bill, a Swiss artist who took the banner later and firstly organised an international exhibition of concrete art in Basle in 1944. I was fascinated by his metal sculptures which used bronze and stone to create the amusement in their lines and shapes.

Left: Unendliche Fläche (1974-75) Right: Half-Sphere around Two Axes (1966)


The research of abstract art movements have been finished now, and through the study I further understood the connection between each movements as well as the art terms. Meanwhile, the artworks of the artists like Naum Gabo and László Moholy-Nagy were appealing me, so in the next step, I will continue to look up their works and ideas. Finally, I made a mind map to summarise these art styles.